As Mark Noble closes in on 500 appearances for West Ham United one thing is certain, he will never play for England.
The homegrown Hammer has been a model of consistency in his 15 years as part of West Ham’s first team.
But despite regularly captaining England’s Under 21 side the senior call never came.
At 32, and given Gareth Southgate’s overhaul of the England setup which favours youth, that chapter looks well and truly written.
It is a shame that one of the most underrated central midfielders of the modern Premier League era never got the chances he deserved.
Caps have been handed out like confetti over the years.
The likes of Fabian Delph, Jack Rodwell, Danny Drinkwater and countless other players with far less appearances and staying power than Noble were given call-ups.
Noble knows his limitations. West Ham fans do too.
Hammers legend deserved to be capped during fine career
Had he been blessed with a touch more pace and agility the likelihood is he would have been worth a lot more money and West Ham would have cashed in on him at some point during the last decade or so.
But the fact he was never given a single cap grates on the club’s supporters.
Noble, though, is over it. And that’s because he has already fulfilled his boyhood dreams by playing for his beloved Hammers.
“I grew up around the corner from Upton Park as a fan of the club,” Noble wrote in The Evening Standard.
‘West Ham was my dream not England’
“Every player’s pinnacle is to play for their country. But, as a kid, my dream was to play for West Ham. It was never a dream to play for England.
“Yes, there is a regret that I never won a full cap, particularly since I played 20 times for the Under 21s and I do feel like there were times when I was more than good enough to be picked for the senior team. There have been times when it has affected me and I have thought, “How have I not been picked?’ It’s too late now anyway. Watching Declan (Rice) play is enough for me — and I have had plenty of other highlights in my career.”
West Ham fans will love Noble even more after reading those comments.
The most hurtful snub would have been when Roy Hodgson was in charge.
He preferred Drinkwater to Noble. And Hodgson rather disrespectfully likened calls for the West Ham man to be selected to the clamour for Grant Holt to get a cap when he was ‘flavour of the month’ (talkSPORT).
Noble is some ‘flavour of the month’. One that lasts 15 years.